As the new school year begins, Ontario is reminding parents to make an optometry appointment for their children.
Eighty per cent of classroom learning is visual. An annual comprehensive eye exam can identify vision problems and treatment options to help students reach their full potential. “I encourage all parents to schedule an annual OHIP-covered optometry appoint at the beginning of each school year to give their children a healthy start to their education,” Health Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins said. Children who have trouble seeing can encounter difficulties at school because their motor skills, social development, attention span and ability to read, write and learn may be affected.
Some conditions such as lazy eye are most effectively treated at a young age. The Ontario Association of Optometrists recommends that every child have their first eye exam at 6 months of age to ensure proper vision development, again at 2 to 3, and subsequently every year thereafter.
Contact your optometrist if you have concerns about your child’s vision or notice any of the following behaviour:
- Does not make eye contact
- Closes or covers one eye
- Squints or frowns when looking far or near
- Rubs or touches their eye(s) a lot
- Blinks more than usual
- Reacts strongly to light
- Turns or tilts head when viewing objects
- Trips, falls or bumps into things often.
To ensure your child gets the best start to learning, Ontario is encouraging parents to schedule their child’s annual eye exam at the beginning of each school year. OHIP covers annual eye exams by an optometrist or physician for anyone under the age of 20.
Ontario is increasing access to care, reducing wait times and improving the patient experience through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care and OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare – protecting health care today and into the future.